Please. That word is music to my ears. Seriously, when ANYONE asks me for something, but includes the word please, I admit that I am much more willing to go the extra mile. Perhaps it is the fact that what one wants seems to be a request than a demand.
Since you were old enough to speak, it wasn't what was said but HOW it was said. If a boss said "give me the reports," I bet you would be much less enthusiastic than if it was phrased "please give me the reports by the end of the day." Having the courtesy to include the word please is very much appreciated by people. Wanting to feel valued in and how a task is done, "please" feels like you are being asked, and you are given a CHOICE.
By offering a choice to someone, you are giving them the opportunity to provide their input. When dealing with a child, which phrase do you think will work better: "you are wearing the red shirt today" or "which shirt do you want to wear today, the red or the blue?" Allowing the child some independence by providing him/her the ability to make a decision will reduce the amount of stress and anxiety during dressing. Controlled choices (or chosen choices) are the clear winners in present-day parenting methods. After all, your child is a mini-you, and if you like choices (and the opportunity to speak your mind!), you can bet your child feels the same way.
The same is true with the word please. If you offer someone a controlled choice by asking for something with the word please, you will be amazed at the outcome. So just for today, take note of how many times you ask for something, and how many times you said please... You will be surprised at how many moments are missed to improve the rapport between you and the person you are making a request of.
That being said, it is time to ensure that children are using the magic word to ask for something they want. With just a little bit of coaching, the word please can become a regular part of the child's vocabulary, which will in turn make dealing with the said child much more pleasant. If we don't want them to become those grownups who constantly order others around and have little success with interpersonal relationships, it is time to crack down now. Please.